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Macquarie University

GMBA834 Engage the board

Macquarie University via Coursera


All organisations must grapple with fundamental issues at the heart of governance: who are our stakeholders? What are their objectives? How can we ensure these objectives are met as effectively as possible? How can we ensure all legitimate stakeholders are treated fairly? Via structured learning activities (video lectures, quizzes, discussion prompts and written assessments) this course will teach you how to address these questions and how a sound governance structure and comprehensive risk management framework can support you and your organisation in achieving its objectives. You will consider contemporary ethical issues and devise practical responses to them, and finally, you’ll discover that your future ‘influencing’ challenge will be to encourage all members of your organisation to understand their role in serving your organisation’s stakeholders.


Governance overview
-Corporate Governance is the framework of rules, relationships, systems and processes by which authority and influence are exercised in corporations. Corporate governance also encompasses crucial issues such as accountability of leaders, protection of stakeholder interests, setting of objectives and risk management. This week you will consider the classical Anglo-American governance model for listed firms with its emphasis on shareholder rights. You will compare this with alternative governance models. Finally, you will also consider some contemporary governance challenges such as the ‘curse’ of short-termism and poor design of incentive schemes.

Risk management framework
-Most people wrongly consider risk management to be a purely defensive activity; they think that risk management is all about risk reduction. On the contrary, risk-taking is essential in any organisation. This week you will learn how to create a risk management framework that both creates and protects value, supporting the achievement of your organisation’s objectives. You will also gain insights into common biases that prevent individuals and organisations from managing risk well, as part of the overall suite of influencing capabilities.

Foreign exchange risk
-To better understand the risk management process, you will apply it to a particular risk that affects many firms operating in global markets: foreign exchange risk. This week you will focus on risk analysis, to demonstrate how foreign exchange movements might impact on firm resilience through the balance sheet. Analysis leads naturally to visualisation and communication of risk concepts – crucial tools for influencing risk management decisions.

Risk governance and culture
-You will continue your application of the risk management process to foreign exchange risk. This week the focus is on the treatment of risk. Later we’re returning to the theme of governance, but this time with a risk focus. One of the most significant governance trends of this century has been the increasing focus on risk management. The challenge of risk governance is to encourage everyone, from directors to the most humble employee, to play their part in the risk management process.

Operational risks
-This week we move away from financial risks to consider operational risks. This covers everything from workplace accidents, to processing errors, fraud events, natural hazards like fire and storm, system outages and project risks. One of the main themes of this week is the need to learn from past risk events, to never waste a good crisis. One of the reasons that learning from past events is so useful is that for the human species, stories have incredible power. Story-telling is one of the most powerful tools of influencing and we’ll explore this truth in the context of risk management.

Misconduct risk
-Unfortunately it’s a fact that staff sometimes violate policies and act in a manner that is not in the long-term best interests of stakeholders. This week we seek to understand the dark side of risk - why people misbehave at work, and what can be done to minimise the possibility of misconduct. Is it due to individual factors (bad apples), characteristics of the workplace (bad barrels) or perhaps characteristics of the whole industry (bad orchards)? How can we influence ourselves and others to behave ethically?

Taught by

Professor Elizabeth Sheedy

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